Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Drive-By Truckers - "Puttin' People on the Moon (Vocal Recut/Remixed/Remastered)"

Photo by Danny Clinch

I typically hate reissued albums. For the most part, they're just quick cash grabs with maybe a few songs that didn't make the album, and I've never been enough of an audiophile to hear the read difference. But now there's Drive-By Truckers' reissue of The Dirty South. The Complete Dirty South promises three bonus tracks, four remixed songs, and two with updated vocals. We can hear a song with updated vocals now, "Puttin' People on the Moon." This new version is much closer to the one we've come to love from DBT's live shows. Patterson Hood sounds completely different here, with more of a growl to his vocals than the previous version. There's more age to his voice now, but it fits the song much more. I've always loved "Puttin' People on the Moon," but I think I love this one even more.

In a press release, Patterson Hood says of the new version of the song:

“I wrote ‘Puttin’ People on the Moon’ in the passenger seat of our van driving through western Tennessee and northern Georgia in late 2003. At the time I was angry about the recently started war in Iraq and the polarization President Bush and his cronies were unleashing on our country, but also drawing a parallel to the policies of President Reagan, who at the time many still viewed as a grandfatherly presence despite his enacting so many policies that had major negative ramifications on our future, a future we’re still living through now. The song was probably the best political song I had ever written at that time and unfortunately is more timely today than it was in 2003. We recorded it in Muscle Shoals (in one take) in January 2004, but by the time the record came out, I had already begun to regret the vocal take, which attempted some things I hadn’t yet really learned how to do at that time. As the years have passed, it is one of two on that album that has always really bothered me when I hear it played, while live it has morphed into a truly powerful song for me to sing. When we were given the opportunity to do a ‘Directors Cut’ version of what many consider to be our masterpiece, I wanted to take another stab at that vocal and nailed what I believe to be a definitive version of it in one take. One that truly captures the inherent anger and despair of the song as written and played by the band. The scream at the end might be the most primal recording of my voice anywhere in our catalog and I’m very proud to have this version out there after all these years. The Complete Dirty South might indeed be DBT’s masterpiece.” 

You can listen to the recut and remastered version of "Puttin' People on the Moon" below. The Complete Dirty South is due out June 2 on New West Records, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Drive-By Truckers, check out the artist's website.

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